TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — There will be no more funny cat videos during work time at the Florida Department of Financial Services.
Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis signed an order Tuesday to ban the use of TikTok on state-supplied devices and within department buildings, according to a news release. It means the popular social media app on employees' personal devices can't be used while at work, either, the order reads.
TikTok has drawn scrutiny in recent weeks as President Donald Trump ordered a ban on it and other applications created from Chinese companies over concerns they provide American users' personal information to the communist Chinese government.
The Trump administration has not supplied any evidence that TikTok and its owner, ByteDance, have done so.
Still, mobile security experts told Wired that TikTok's data collection practices aren't unique for an advertising-based business and are similar to apps made in the USA. The data includes what phone model a person is using, what time zone the user is in and other points.
"For the iOS app available to Western audiences, it appears to collect very standard analytics information," Will Strafach, an iOS security researcher and creator of the privacy-focused Guardian Firewall app, told Wired. "Most data collection by apps concerns me, I don’t like any of it.
"However, in context, TikTok appears to be pretty tame compared to other apps," he said.
But there remain concerns the Chinese government could pressure TikTok's owner to hand over data, Wired reports.
Patronis in the release said it's that reason his agency, which deals with the State Treasury, law enforcement records and the like, is banning the app.
"The threat TikTok presents far outweighs any benefit the application could provide to official business of the agency and that is why I have decided to immediately ban the application from DFS devices and use of the app within our facilities," he said. "With reports of direct ties to the Communist Party of China, TikTok is a major security risk to the State of Florida and to the United States, and it has no place on state devices."
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